Poll: Most Oregonians Support Tax for Single Payer Healthcare

According to a new statewide poll, a majority of Oregonians would prefer paying a new healthcare tax that’s more than double their income tax, so long as they no longer have to pay premiums or other healthcare expenses.

Elway Research conducted the poll, and they one of only six pollsters in the country to achieve an A+ rating from fivethirtyeight.com.

The Numbers

Elway included registered voters in all of Oregon’s House districts, and matched party distribution in the state: 35 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican, 40 percent other.

  • 62 percent of Oregon voters would probably or definitely vote for a separate health tax so long it’s generally smaller than what they’re paying now for premiums and out of pocket expenses. Voters believe employers should continue to contribute into the system in about the same amounts as they do now. Voters also desire the new system provides health care for everyone.
  • 75% of Oregon voters see universal healthcare as a desirable solution to high costs and other problems with the healthcare system. However, unlike previous national polls, Oregon voters are significantly more supportive of a public healthcare system.
  • 81% identified healthcare costs as a major problem for individuals, governments, and businesses.
  • 70% of voters identified other concerns, like the current system’s unnecessary complexity, and medical bankruptcies.

Reaction

Corvallis resident Warren George, a retired management consultant, commissioned the poll with support from local businessman Ron Loe of Woodcastle Furniture – both are Republicans. However, in a press release, George notes, “This is about as unified an opinion, across party lines and other demographic categories, as you will ever see in America.”

Portland physician Dr. Samuel Metz, who was not involved with the poll, but is known as a well-versed longtime advocate for universal healthcare speculates that Oregonians, “have higher faith that a workable healthcare plan will emerge from their legislators in Salem than from their Congressional delegation in Washington DC.”

“No longer can elected officials claim their Oregon constituents will not tolerate a healthcare plan that raises taxes,” Metz said. “As long as legislative plans lower overall healthcare spending, voters will keep listening. It’s time for each legislator to be thinking healthcare because their voting constituents sure are.”

Stuart Elway, president of Elway Research, reflects, “Of course, this is not a vote. It is easier to tell a pollster that one favors a new health care tax than it is to actually vote for one. Still, with 6 in 10 respondents open to a measure that would eliminate or replace private insurance, establish a new state agency and a new health care tax to fund it, these findings indicate that Oregon voters are ready to have that discussion.”

Oregon lawmakers passed Senate Bill 770 earlier this year to establish a task force charged with recommending a statewide universal healthcare structure to the Legislature in 2021.

About the Poll

The poll is based on a random sample of 402 registered voters in Oregon that were interviewed by live interviewers via land line and cell phones, and online. The margin of error is plus/minus 5 percent.

The poll was conducted between July 17-21.

By Andy Thompson